Friday, April 29, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Total Uninsured Remains at 11.9% -or- Sound and Fury Signify Nothing

“In 2014, after accounting for attrition after the end of the first open-enrollment period (March 31, 2014), 6.7 million individuals had enrolled by December 31. In 2015, 2.6 million additional individuals enrolled (and remained on their plans), raising the total to 9.3 million people enrolled on December 31. If similar trends hold, total enrollment on the ACA exchanges will hit 10 million on December 31, 2016.

Overall, ACA-exchange enrollment has been lower than expected; in 2016, the gap between actual and forecasted enrollment is likely to widen further. For instance, in 2014, the ACA exchanges’ first year, enrollment (6.7 million) exceeded the CBO’s February 2014 forecast (6 million). But in 2015, total enrollment (9.3 million) lagged behind the CBO’s March 2015 forecast (11 million). And if current trends hold, total enrollment in 2016 (about 10 million) will be dramatically less than the CBO’s March 2015 forecast (21 million).

Are these lower-than-anticipated ACA-exchange enrollment figures the result of uninsured individuals securing coverage by other means — such as by enrolling in employer-sponsored coverage or Medicaid? Start with the former. As the Department of Health and Human Services has noted, in a growing economy, employer-sponsored coverage typically rises as more people acquire jobs. Instead, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2015, employer-sponsored coverage in the U.S. declined.

Or take Medicaid. Enrollment in this government-insurance program for the poor expanded during the aforementioned period; but such expansion largely matched the CBO forecast — and, therefore, was also incorporated into the CBO forecast for ACA-exchange enrollment. Indeed, if the ACA exchanges’ meager enrollment numbers were caused by a rise in coverage obtained elsewhere, America’s overall uninsured rate would have declined in 2015. Instead, it barely budged, hovering around 11.9 percent.” - Why Obamacare Is Failing at "Universal Coverage", foundation for economic education, 04/17/2016

Link to the entire essay appears below:




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Without a Bail Out, Health Insurers Sing a Different Tune

“With Congress limiting the bailouts of insurance companies for two years in a row, business is not looking good for the industry that lobbied for Obamacare. The latest casualty is United Healthcare, which announced that it is withdrawing from most of its 34 Obamacare exchanges next year.

Announcing the decision during a first quarter earnings conference call, UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley said, “The smaller overall market size and shorter-term, higher-risk profile within this market segment continue to suggest we cannot broadly serve it on an effective and sustained basis."

Due to congressional limits on insurance company bailouts, in October the Department of Health and Human Services transferred $362 million to loss-making insurance companies, rather than the $2.9 billion that they requested.

The Health Insurance Association of America, under the leadership of Karen Ignagni, lobbied heavily in favor of the Affordable Care Act. But now the pool of insured is smaller and sicker than they anticipated.”

“If Congress holds its ground during the appropriations process and refuses to bail out the insurance companies for fiscal 2017, it is likely that more of them will withdraw from the exchanges, raising prices for existing customers. Premiums rose in some markets by 20 percent in 2016, leading to more healthy young people dropping out of plans or not enrolling, accelerating the financial imbalance.

Look at UnitedHealthcare as the canary in the coal mine, and expect more withdrawal announcements in the future.” - UnitedHealthcare’s Exit Augurs Badly for Obamacare,, 04/19/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:




Saturday, April 16, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Section 1332 and Some Universal Health-Care For You

“As Republican policymakers nationwide continue debating ways to replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions, a Colorado group has landed a plan implementing a single-payer model of health care on November’s ballot. Coloradans are already bracing for its impact.

In the general election, Colorado residents will not only head to the polls to cast their votes for president, but they’ll also weigh in on a controversial ballot measure: Amendment 69, which would create a government-run health care plan in the Centennial State.

The plan, formally known as ColoradoCare, is the first in the country that would replace Obamacare, action made possible by Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act, which allows states to receive a waiver from the health care law if their own plan provides residents with “access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of” the health care law.

In Obamacare’s place: universal health care.” - Beyond Obamacare: Colorado Considers Single-Payer Model, daily, 04/14/2016

Link to the entire article appears below: